News & Events

Sandra’s glass is half full

December 7, 2017

Life’s turned around for Sandra Cumming. A few years ago she was losing the capacity to walk and use her hands due to Dystonia, a neurological movement disorder that causes muscles in the body to contract or spasm involuntarily.  Fast forward to November 2017 and Sandra has picked up a first prize for her glass painting at the Euroa Show.

 

She now knits, paints, with mentoring from artist Gillian Coates, attends exercises at the Euroa hospital each week and has put in place services that mean she can live at OCAV’s Currie Park village for longer.

 

Sandra, 77, moved from her home in the nearby town of Alexandra to Currie Park four years ago. She just wishes she had made the move sooner.

 

“I love it here, surrounded by friends, gardens and trees. It’s so much better than when I lived on my own. I am certainly not lonely like I was once,” Sandra said.

 

Sandra can still walk with the aid of a walker and after deep brain stimulation in 2011 she has regained 85% use of her hands. Before the procedure she was unable to hold a cup of tea.

 

“I didn’t leave my house because I couldn’t even hold a cup if I went to visit someone. I became depressed and my health deteriorated,” she said. Things turned around after coming to Currie Park. She is active in Probus and has taken on the role of Outings Officer.

 

Sandra’s unit has recently been renovated making it possible for her to live independently. She has a level 4 care package which provides her with regular housekeeping support and two hours with a carer who takes her shopping each week.

 

The renovation of her kitchen and bathroom has made the world of difference. The step into the shower has been removed to create a walk in shower, reducing falls risks and she sits in a special chair to wash. Her care package will also allow her to get support to shower when the time comes.

 

The kitchen has been renovated so that everything is accessible to her while she sits in a propping stool. She can sit on the stool and work at the bench, reach into the refrigerator and use the stove. She has started using a slow cooker and freezing meals so that she does not have to cook as regularly.

 

Sandra loves her garden and can care for it while she is sitting. Whatever she can’t reach, Tony McMillan the Currie Park gardener, helps to keep looking good.

 

Sandra has overcome a lot of illness in the past twenty years, including breast cancer in 2006. She was diagnosed with Dystonia five years ago though doctors thought she had Parkinson’s disease for many years before that. While Dystonia limits her physical capacity, it doesn’t stop her from making the most of her life. In fact she feels better now than she has for years.

 

“My regular exercise classes at the Euroa Hospital help a lot as well as the armchair exercises classes run by Trish Benedict here in the village. It is a wonderful feeling to be able to do something that you couldn’t do a few years ago. It makes everything I can now do feel rewarding,” she said.

 

“My life here is wonderful; I can’t really explain how good it is. And I know I can stay here as long as it is safe for me to do so. But after that I want to go to Liscombe House, OCAV’s aged care facility where I will be cared for. I don’t have any family so it is such a comfort to know that when I can’t live here any longer, there is another home for me.”

 

Volunteering is important to Deb, enabling her to contribute in the aged care sector. “I love it when the residents get downright cheeky. I love it when we get a bit too loud with laughing."

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